Onleilove Alston was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and African-American studies from Penn State University, she completed a year of service with AmeriCorps Public Allies New York. In 2011, she received her Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work degrees from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University School of Social Work, respectively. She is also an Alumni of The Women's Campaign School at Yale.
For more than 10 years, Onleilove has worked for various nonprofit organizations such as Sojourners, NY Faith & Justice, FPWA and United Workers. She is a contributing writer for Sojourners magazine, The Black Commentator, Huffington Post, NPR’s Onbeing blog, as well in publications. For her writing and activism work, Onleilove has received the Bennett Fellowship for Social Justice from Auburn Seminary, the National Association of Social Workers-NYC Scholarship for Social Justice, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Minority Coalition Young Adult Award, and the 2011 Evangelical Press Association’s Student Writer of the Year First Place Award. She serves on the Board of Directors for Sojourners and on the Advisory Boards for the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary, the Women’s Organizing Network and NYACK College’s School of Social Work. In June 2015, Onleilove was also appointed to the Mayor's Clergy Advisory Council under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. In 2014, she launched Prophetic Whirlwind: Uncovering the Black Biblical Destiny, an organization dedicated to educating people of faith on The Black Presence in the Bible.
Livefreesotu watch party
Michael McBride, January 14, 2016;
- Deeply grateful to all our amazing friends who joined our #livefreesotu watch party & discussion. It was a small cross section of the diversity in our faith & liberation movements but the conversation was rich, challenging, nuanced & unfiltered. Hopefully this will be the first of many conversations and inspire the rich and diverse voices across the country to create our own narrative, content & s... — with Rahiel Tesfamariam, Barack Obama, Osagyefo Sekou, Gabriel Salguero, Alexie Torres-Fleming, Davey D. Cook, Onleilove Alston, Dante Barry, Tory Russell, Dara Silverman, Traci Blackmon, Ify Ike, Steve Phillips, Rosa Clemente, Bakari Kitwana and Linda Sarsour.
Gala guest speakers
In July 2016 Sunflower Community Action enlisted guest speakers Tony Pecinovsky and Onleilove Alston, Executive Director of PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing) for their 25th Anniversary gala.